Q: Ten years ago you stepped down as editor-in-chief and publisher at Random House Children's Books (see a PW interview with her about this transition). What is your present job there?
A: I'm editor at large. That means I can do pretty much what I want to do, which is nice. My job falls into two categories, by choice: working with authors and illustrators I had been working with before, like Marc Brown and Jack Prelutsky, and bringing on new ones; and revitalizing the Knopf backlist.
Q: Tell us more about those backlist reissues.
A: There was a period of time in the 1990s when a lot of the Knopf books were allowed to go out of print, for a lot of different reasons. I was the publisher of a great number of those books and I'm bringing them back. I'm also trying to bring in books that have been neglected by other publishing companies—books that I had known about in my early hears in publishing. such as The Happy Lion. That was originally published by McGraw-Hill, but their list kind of disappeared. The Happy Lion had been very popular, and had had nine sequels. It's fun revitalizing these things, to figure out how to take these older books and give them a new life. I'm really more of a marketer than an editor. I get a big kick out of seeing the really good books on our backlist come back.
Q: What other books are you working on?
A: Jack Prelutsky is doing an original collection of poems. I have three books under contract with Judy Sierra. I'm also publishing another book by Mini Gray, who did Traction Man Is Here!
Q: You are also writing your own books for children these days. What projects are in the works?
A: I wrote a Halloween counting book, called 10 Trick or Treaters [illus. by Linda Davick], which is out this season. Those books are very easy to put together. I'm working on one now that is more challenging and will require more effort. My editor is Erin Clarke, who was my assistant for years.
Q: This season you are also publishing an updated version of The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury, a collection you published back in 1998. What's new and updated about this edition?
A: A few years had passed, and I wanted to include some of the new illustrators who had emerged since 2000. We added recommendations for 15 books I thought were "too good to miss," that had all come out since the old edition came out.
Q: Is the job still fun for you, after all these years?
A: Oh yeah. I'm having a lot more fun than I thought I would. I practically retired 10 years ago, and didn't think I'd stick around. But I'm very happy doing what I'm doing.